Dawlish train hit by huge wave: Passengers stranded in darkness for hours
Passengers were left stranded in darkness during the night for several hours after their train was hit by a large wave in Dawlish, Devon, on Sunday night.
The Arriva Cross Country service from Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth broke down when its electrics failed at about 9.30pm.
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A spokesman for the rail company said the train, which had 36 passengers and three crew on board, was "struck by spray from waves... with seawater entering the train's roof, causing mechanical problems."
The Torquay Herald Expressreports thatpassengers had to sit in darkness between Dawlish and Teignmouth for four hours before they were eventually evacuated down ladders, onto the tracks, and onto another train which eventually left at around 2am.
Passenger Kerry Pollard told the local newspaper that the train "lurched erratically" a couple of times before grinding to a halt.
"It was raining so hard that I couldn't really see anything," she told the paper. "We didn't know what was going on – they tried to get it started... we didn't know what was happening.
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"Four hours later they evacuated us. We had to climb down ladders onto the tracks then back up another one to another train."
The breakdown caused delays on other services, although First Great Western said the majority of services were able to carry on running.
Cross Country has apologised for the incident. Its spokesman said: "Despite numerous attempts it proved impossible to get the train restarted so ultimately everyone was transferred to another train to continue their journeys, although involving a considerable delay.
The same stretch of track was destroyed by winter storms in February 2014. Some of the line was left hanging in the air after the sea wall was completely destroyed, causing months of disruption while repairs costing millions of pounds were carried out.
According to Cross Country, the new Voyager trains that are in use on the line are vulnerable to seawater because air intakes in the roof allow water to get into the electrics.
The company has an agreement with Network Rail and the Met Office that it does not operate at Dawlish when high waves are predicted.
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